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Ten Years On

Ten Years On Our ten-year wedding anniversary, Dec 3, 2009 Scattering ashes in Michigan, August, 2010 January 23, 2010 is a date I'm afraid to remember and scared I'll forget. It's the day Sean died. I wanted to write about the weirdness of marking ten years since Sean’s death, but it’s almost too big a task. It’s like straining to hear what my kids are asking from the other room while the kettle is boiling in front of me; like trying to figure out how to build a bookshelf when the instructions are cryptic pictograms.  How to talk about a decade of living, loving, grieving? It’s like a trip to the moon and back ten times and also like a walk to the corner store. It has been a long odyssey and a quick jaunt. What no one can tell you about the years stretching between death and this-new-normal-kinda-life is how your perspective will change. What once seemed important now seems trivial, and the person you were back then is different from
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Anniversaries Don't Die

Anniversaries Don’t Die Dec. 3, 2019: Sean and I would’ve celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary today, December third, in the States (yesterday in New Zealand). We only made it to ten years because he died. I like to think we’d still be together, but it’s easy to make these assumptions with a late spouse. In death, we are who our loved ones imagine us to be - steadfast, funny, smart, kind… In a domestic relationship between the living and the dead, there is no arguing about who’ll clean toilets, take out trash or taxi kids. There is only perfection refracted by the aging angles of memory. We married on a misty Friday evening in the glow of candlelight at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. He, at 38 years old, still looked youthful in his tuxedo and boutonniere; I, at 29, carried an enormous bouquet of crimson roses and wore a dress with beaded bodice and train. Full of hope and promise, we had no idea what would come later - a premature baby whose kidney

Fifty-eight is Great

Happy Birthday, Sean Fifty-Eight is Great Cedar Point, around 1997 Sorry for another Sean post. Not sorry - it’s just Father’s Day and Sean’s birthday fall within the same week. Another reminder of who we don’t have. Last I checked, Sean was still de ad. Wish it weren’t so. Today in America would’ve been his 58th birthday. I used to love this day, because it's also often the summer solstice - the longest day of the year - in the Northern Hemisphere.   We’ve spent 3,437 days so far without Sean. When someone has an out-of-order death, i.e., dies way before their natural life expectancy, we miss not only their past selves, but their future selves, too. I mourned the passing of my 96- year-old grandfather around Christmas last year as the end of an era. He had outlived his wife and lived long enough to see a teenaged great-grandchild. Fiona turned six-years-old four days after Sean’s death. I still remember her Hannah Montana cake. Finley w

The Call to Laughter

The Call to Laughter I’m working to re-train my brain there is no such thing as a bad year. Or a good year. It’s convention, this time thing. The idea we’ll peel a year or a month off the calendar. This year bad. Next year good. Rubbish. My old way of thinking would suggest 2019 will be a shitty year as I wrestle with transitions, like the kind I endured while laboring before my two children were born. The life changes I’m embarking on would top anyone’s list of Most Stressful. I won’t elaborate right now, because I’m not ready. So, back to transition - I’m wrestling a few that remind me of that painful period before giving birth. The first time, I withstood an excruciating epidural minutes before emergency surgery (Fiona); the second time, I was drug-free while pushing a human - a baby with hand on head - from a small space (Finley). Both transitions required the ability to withstand temporary suffering and delivered a beautiful result. This time,

Young and Old Emcee

Young and Old Emcee How to choose a master of ceremonies who delivers At the 2019 Multicultural Festival, Tauranga I’ve emceed (or MC’d, if you prefer) fashion shows, award ceremonies, cultural galas, charity lunches and other events for years. I like being part of the action without actually having to win anything, sew anything or have any real talent. I’m not a hosting expert, but I’ve attended enough functions to tell you what goes on behind the scenes, and how to know when you’ve chosen the wrong person for the job.  (video here:   ) What really happens: Chaos Controlled chaos. If you’ve ever emceed, you know nothing goes to plan. Performers are late or don’t show, judges take too much time with a decision, the microphone doesn’t work, the lighting is wonky… it’s always something. I recently emceed a cultural event where my run sheet said a man would perform a song on bagpipes. He brought his pipes and accordi